Anime Spotlight: Case Closed

Case Closed, which is known as Detective Conan in Japan, is based on a detective manga series written and illustrated by Gosho Aoyama. The anime began airing in Japan on January 8, 1996; as of this writing, this series is still ongoing.

FUNimation Entertainment holds the North American distribution rights for Case Closed. The company released five season DVD box sets and the first six Case Closed films; unfortunately, the series wasn’t selling well enough for FUNimation to continue releasing more than that.

Shinichi Kudo (who is known as Jimmy Kudo in the English adaptation) is a high school junior mystery buff who has incredible abilities with both his power of observation and his intuition. In fact, he is able to solve mysteries that have baffled the Japanese police force.

One day, Shinichi/Jimmy and his friend Ran Mori (who is known as Rachel Moore in the English adaptation), go to a local amusement park. A murder takes place on a roller coaster that they’re riding, and Shinichi solves the crime. While working on the case, two men dressed in black who were among the suspects catch his interest.

Later at the amusement park, Shinichi has a run-in with the mysterious men in black as they’re in the middle of a transaction. One of the men knocks Shinichi out and uses an experimental poison on Shinichi that has not been tested on humans; the men expect that the poison will kill Shinichi. However, instead of killing him, the poison shrinks Shinichi back down to a six or seven-year-old.

As his new younger self, Shinichi takes on the name of Conan Edogawa, and poses as a relative of his neighbor, Dr. Agasa. As Conan, Shinichi ends up living with Ran and her father Kogoro Mori (known as Richard Moore in the English adaptation). Kogoro is a bumbling private investigator who used to be part of the Japanese police force. Shinichi believes that he can use Kogoro’s resources to track down the men in black to try to get an antidote that will return him to his normal size.

While living with Ran and Kogoro, Conan finds himself accompanying Kogoro on his cases. As Conan, Shinichi is able to covertly help Kogoro solve the cases that come his way.

And since Shinichi has been shrunk back to a kid, he enrolls in Teitan Elementary School as Conan. There, he makes friends with three of kids in his class, and the four of them form the Junior Detective League.

After watching the first episode of the series, I found myself being impressed with Case Closed. I appreciate how the mysteries are presented in a “whodunit” style, as well as how many of the mysteries keep you guessing right until Conan reveals what really happened. As I watch the mysteries, I find myself trying to figure out who committed the crime and how they did it and then seeing if I’m right; this is definitely a series that will make someone think as they watch it.

The mystery angle of this series makes it stand out, since there aren’t very many anime series that fit into the mystery genre.

Overall, I like the storytelling that’s used for Case Closed. The only real complaint I have is that quite a few of the mysteries in the episodes that were released in North America by FUNimation Entertainment are murder mysteries. There are occasionally other kids of mysteries (such as kidnappings, vandalism, and extortion), the vast majority of the mysteries appear to be murder cases.

I also think that Gosho Aoyama did a fantastic job creating the characters for his manga series, and that the anime director did a great job of bringing these characters to life. The combination of the characters and the storytelling work together to make Case Closed an enjoyable series to watch.

It really is a shame that Case Closed didn’t perform as well in North America as FUNimation Entertainment had hoped for. It really is a good series and is worth watching if you enjoy mystery stories.

As of this writing, Case Closed is available for streaming at FUNimation’s website. If you’ve never seen Case Closed before, then I would suggest watching some of the streaming episodes at the FUNimation website. This could very well be one of the best anime series that you’re currently not watching.

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